Recent entries

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5404 Copy

    Questioner

    What are you reading?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right now, I actually just started reading [Under] the Pendulum Sun... I read two chapters of it, it was very good. It's by an author [Jeannette Ng] who is British, who came to one of my signings earlier, so I looked it up... She came in costume, she came as Jasnah, and she's a professional writer herself, so I'm like, "I've got to read her book." ...The first two chapters were delightful. Missionaries going to fairyland, the land of the fae.

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5405 Copy

    Hoidonalsium

    What was the order of the Shards coming to Roshar and changing allegiances? Did humans come with Odium?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... you're talking about on Roshar specifically? So, Odium had visited Roshar. The humans gave him more of an ear... The Dawnsingers would have considered him the god of the people who had come, but-- I mean, it wasn't like they necessarily brought him. He was capable of getting around before that. I mean, he did kinda come along with them, he was instrumental in what happened there.

    Hoidonalsium

    Okay, but he was separate, and after Honor and Cultivation had really settled there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, he was after Honor and Cultivation had settled.

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5407 Copy

    Hoidonalsium

    Was Hoid's Cryptic the same one that was meant for Elhokar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Hoidonalsium

    Is there anything more to the Cryptic than Pattern? Like Shallan's Pattern?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's more to every individual! But it is not a more powerful Cryptic or anything like that.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #5408 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Syl Leaves

    I hated sending Syl away from Kaladin here, but it had to happen—in part because of how much it hurt to send her away. She's basically the only light left in these scenes with Kaladin in Bridge Four.

    Syl wasn't in the original draft of Kings. I developed her over the years between 2003 and 2009; there was a time when the four winds from mythology would be active and alive on Roshar, and she was one of those. Eventually, the spren developed as a concept. They grew out of the greater worldbuilding and magic system rules for the cosmere. (The connected universe of my epic books.)

    At that point, she became a sentient spren—one of many that would be in the books. Still, she was very special. I do worry about the Tinkerbell vibe that she gives off to some people. I tried hard to distance her from that. No wings, the constant shape changing, that sort of thing.

    Her innocence and childlike nature is an important foil and balance to the darkness in Kaladin's life. Then she leaves, and all innocence is gone from him.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #5409 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nine

    Kaladin in Bridge Four

    This chapter is probably the most depressing thing I've ever written.

    Writing a depressed character, someone in this bad a situation, is risky. It goes against almost every writing rule out there. A character like this can't be active, and there is basically no progress to the story. (I talked a little about this in the chapter 4 annotations for both The Way of Kings and The Hero of Ages.)

    Sometimes I'll read the writing of new authors in my class who will try to use depression as a character flaw. They've heard instructors—perhaps myself—talk about how internal conflicts can create a really strong character. They also know that depression is something real and difficult to deal with in life, so they figure it will make a good demon for the main character to overcome.

    The trap is that if the author is truly good at writing depression, then nothing actually happens in the story. It can be wonderfully authentic and at the same time wonderfully boring to read.

    This chapter is kind of the culmination of me breaking rules in the beginning of The Way of Kings. I think this chapter makes the story incredibly more powerful—but the chapter itself is like a kick to the face to read. Slow, depressing. I assume this is probably the biggest place where—if people are going to stop reading—they put down the book and never pick it back up.

    As I've said before, The Way of Kings is the book where I decided to break many rules to create something I felt was awesome. Great risk, and hopefully great reward.

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5410 Copy

    Hoidonalsium

    In that one long rejection of Odium, how many Oaths did Dalinar swear before merging the Realms? And is "I am Unity" the fifth.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, that is not an Oath. He swore one ideal in that experience.

    Hoidonalsium

    Okay. How many Oaths is he on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The number you think. So, he should have just finished three, right? Or maybe four. I'll have to go look. It's the number that you think it is. I'm not being sneaky on you. There's nothing sneaky there. He doesn't get armor, so I can't remember where he is... He should be at three. "Life before death." "I will unite instead of divide." "I will stand up each time I fall." Yeah, so he's done three.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #5411 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yalb the Sailor

    This chapter is Yalb's time to shine. One of the things I love about The Wheel of Time is Robert Jordan's use of side characters who sometimes pop in, steal the show, then vanish. I love how they show up now and then in the text.

    I'm not sure I can do the same thing here. Robert Jordan had worldbuilding reasons why small characters would get tied to the main characters and keep appearing in their lives again and again. I don't have those reasons.

    Still, writing Yalb, I wanted him to really pop off the page even though he's only in the book for a few pages in these early scenes. I intend for him to return. In another type of story, he'd be one of the main characters.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #5412 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shallan berates the book merchant

    The timid nature is a result of the problems in her past (see book two's flashbacks). I see the moments of flaring passion as being far more “her.”

    Shallan's father has an infamous temper; it's buried deep within her as well. If she'd been allowed to grow up more naturally, without the oppressive darkness that her family suffered, she would have turned out as a very different person. Still, the person she could become is buried inside her. In my mind, this is one of the big connections between her as a character and Kaladin. It is also part of why both attract a certain type of spren…

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #5413 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eight

    Shallan Rejected Again

    I do wonder at reader reaction to these Shallan sequences. Some in the writing group found these scenes too long. They figured it was inevitable that Shallan would end up as Jasnah's ward, and so spending several chapters with Shallan working overtime to secure the position wasn't interesting to them.

    I admit this is a potential problem with the sequence. However, I felt it important to show both Shallan's determination and Jasnah's character with these sequences. I needed to show Shallan working very hard for what she wanted. It also gave me several opportunities to show the contrasting timidity/insolence that makes up how I view Shallan as a character.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #5415 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seven

    I've taken some visual art classes. I'm terrible at drawing—as you would expect from someone without a lot of experience—but I felt it would be important to know how visual art works and how artists think. Listening to the professors talk was in many ways more useful than the practice itself, though I did enjoy the drawing as well.

    (As a side note, my final project for an art class in 2002—a basic drawing class—was a landscape of Roshar with rockbuds and the like. I took a stab at doing my own concept art, and bad though it was, it did help me start to visualize the world.)

    How Shallan thinks here is really a blend of how I think as a writer and how I've heard visual artists think of their process. I'm drawing heavily on my own experience, and because of that blend, I suspect that to many artists her process will sound odd.

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5423 Copy

    Questioner

    When Skybreakers are about to decide to follow Dawnsingers. Why now? Why not before?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So this is a little complicated... Until they came back, by Nale's interpretation, then the law of the land was human. When they returned, the law of the land <became> Dawnsinger. And at that point, it was his job to <switch to them>. It is his logic, but you don't have to agree with that logic. Because Nale's logic is maybe not the best.

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5424 Copy

    Questioner

    Back to Stormlight. Is there significance to the color of moons?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is a significance to the colors of the moons in Stormlight, but it is not a major player in theories. There is a significance, but it's not, like, one of these things that you're going to read book seven and be like "The colors of the moons! It was there all along!" Sometimes, I put stuff like that in, right? It's not like that.

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5425 Copy

    Questioner

    Yes, or no. With all of the cosmere books that have been put out, do we have enough information to deduce the Ghostbloods' motives?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ummm... *laugher* I would say yes, but it's not like you are a fool if you haven't gotten it.

    Robert Jordan once answered a question like this saying, "Well, the answer should be intuitively obvious to the casual observer." Which I never thought was fair. Like, no, it was not. Szeth, some people guessed it. And some people will guess this. A lot of the foreshadowing in my books, it's this weird thing where, when you do proper foreshadowing, and then people have three years between books, they're gonna figure some things out. Which presents a really interesting challenge to me as a writer, because, like, there are big things that get revealed in Oathbringer, that people who have been steeped in the world for the last seven years... they kinda knew this would happen. We get the beta readers, and they're like, "So? Doesn't everyone know that?" But at the same time, the casual reader, beta readers were like "Holy cow! This is a huge revelation!" And books need to work both for the person who has been really steeped in it, and the person who's reading along that maybe doesn't want to go get all the spoilers from all the fan guessing. So it is this weird balancing act that, as a writer, you have to perform, particularly with the longer books in the longer series, where you want to make sure they're engaging to the hardcore fan, but not overwhelming to the person who maybe hasn't reread the books since the last one came out. And I don't know that I have that balance figured out, but it is something I think about a lot...

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5426 Copy

    Questioner

    So, I was gonna ask about which character the next book would focus on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, no, that's not spoilery... I said from the get-go I am perfectly all right writing a flashback sequence for a character who has already died in the books. So it's not telling you any spoilers to tell you who the various characters are. So, the front five are Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar, Eshonai, and Szeth. Those are our front five. And our back five are Lift, Jasnah, Ash, Taln, and Renarin. And, not in that order. I've flipped the order quite a bit as I've been going. 'Cause Dalinar was gonna be book five, and now he's book three. So now Szeth is book five, and Eshonai is book four. Right now, Lift is book six. But the back five, I'm not concerned about, other than making sure I'm setting up the right things, and it's gonna come together.

    Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
    #5428 Copy

    Questioner

    I wanted to ask whether cake has a soul? In Realmatic theory, stuff has souls. So, somebody turns wheat into flour, and flour has a soul. Do they come together when I bake the cake?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...So, this gets into some weird cosmere theory stuff. The level that if you are a student of philosophy, you'll recognize just wearing on the sleeve where this one came from. This is a mashup of Shinto beliefs and the theory of the forms by Plato, and kind of its own weird thing, that became Realmatic theory in the cosmere...

    So, in the cosmere, things take on an Identity and a soul based on how people perceive them. It's human perception that is creating a lot of this, because the various powers that made the universe have this sort of desire to be sentient. And power left long too long in the cosmere starts thinking, that's just how it goes, and starts thinking of itself the way it is perceived. So, that cake, as soon as its created, the disparate parts of the souls start being thought of as a cake, and start gaining some traction as a cake. If you left that cake alone long enough, which wouldn't take too long for a cake because people don't look at cake and think "Oh, a bunch of wheat and flour." They think "Cake." That thing will start having a combined soul of the various bits of power, and the longer you leave it, the more permanency it's gonna have as a Spiritual artifact in the cosmere.

    So, yes, cake has a soul.

    Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
    #5429 Copy

    Questioner

    What do you think about book piracy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...So, I have a love-hate relationship. I like that things like torrents for books exist for people who have lost their books or who want to try one out, I think there are very legitimate reasons for it to be out there. But there's a sense of entitlement that just rubs me wrong sometimes. Like, the other day, we found a whole bunch of Ebay listings for selling the ebook, for people who had just downloaded the torrent and were just selling it on Ebay. That kind of stuff just gets under my skin.

    Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
    #5430 Copy

    Questioner

    The casting for these films. Is that just gonna be, like, professional people, or will it be open to the public?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have asked them to hold open casting calls. So, I don't know if they'll do it, but I have asked them. We're not even that close yet, though, right? It takes forever. We're not close enough for you to start being eager about that. It's still a few years if-- even if it happens.

    Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
    #5432 Copy

    Questioner

    You know the sparring guards, for the Shardblade training, the guards they put on the Shardblades. Are they made of aluminum?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, they are not. Peter will not let me make them made out of aluminum. He's my continuity editor, he keeps me honest. I tried to get them to be aluminum, but there are reasons why they can't be. So we had to make them their own weird little thing, unfortunately. But you could make a sheath out of aluminum for a Shardblade that would work.

    He keeps me honest, so it's good, but I did try to fit them in that way.

    Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
    #5434 Copy

    Questioner

    Who is the greatest warrior in the cosmere? I think it's Kaladin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, define "warrior" versus "soldier" versus--

    Questioner

    Who could win at an all-out fight? Even with powers taken away, I think he could still take on a lot of the other warriors.

    Brandon Sanderson

    A question. Are they on a battlefield? 'Cause Kelsier just murders him in his sleep.

    Questioner

    Battlefield.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The actual soldier, battlefield, is probably Kaladin. Problem is, you could put Dalinar in his prime. And they're both pretty good. But, Kaladin is a true soldier.

    Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
    #5435 Copy

    Questioner

    VenDell, the kandra from the Wax & Wayne era. So, at the start of the book, coat is brown. End of the book, a light tan. Is he doing something specifically himself to change the color?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh, yeah.

    Questioner

    Is it what I think it is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What do you think it is?

    Questioner

    It appears to be some sort of, kind of, almost Awakening?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. More mundane than that.

    Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
    #5436 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually am having a meeting on Monday with my publisher saying "We need to get more books to India," because that is the number one complaint I get... The number one country that emails me of people saying "We can't get your books" is India. So hopefully we'll do something about that.

    Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
    #5437 Copy

    Hoidonalsium

    The resonance between various powers, specifically about Shallan... The way that she seems to be sort of Soulstamping herself, is that due to a resonance power? Or is that something external—or is it mental?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...It's a combination of the two, but it's not resonance. It's more mental health and her magic kind of interacting.

    Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
    #5442 Copy

    BlackYeti (paraphrased)

    In Oathbringer, Kaladin sees a painting from the Court of Gods which, it is claimed, shows something different to every person who sees it. However, as I understand it, the Returned only see things in the paintings because of their Divine Breath, there isn't anything intrinsically magical about the paintings themselves; what then is going on with this painting?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He was very evasive here, ultimately he only said that not everything that you see is in the painting.

    Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
    #5443 Copy

    Questioner 1

    What kind of time frame will we look for, or will we see another book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Time frame for another Sixth of the Dusk book? So, I outlined a pretty good novella, which was actually about Sixth, going into Shadesmar. It was pretty cool, but then I didn't have time to write it, so I can't make any promises.

    Questioner 2

    So, there is one coming, maybe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe. There is an outline for another story, specifically about Sixth, because exploring Shadesmar would be a fun thing for him. But can't promise.

    Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
    #5447 Copy

    Megasif

    In London I wanted to ask about Nightblood. The way he is Invested, is that a one-off-case kind of thing, or is it possible to do another of that level?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was really bizarre, and I will explain it eventually and that will let you know why. It's theoretically possible to do almost anything so it's theoretically possible to do what he did but it'd be very hard.

    Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
    #5448 Copy

    Questioner

    [My son] would like to know when you're planning to write Bastille?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ..We're close. The fact that I ditched Apocalypse Guard has slow me down a bit. I was planning to write Bastille very soon. But it's gonna depend on how soon I finish [Skyward], when I need to go into Wax & Wayne. I need to go into Wax & Wayne, like, July at the latest. So, it's gonna depend on how long Skyward takes. But I'm gonna try to slip it in there.

    Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
    #5450 Copy

    Joe ST

    Is Urithiru a spaceship?

    Brandon Sanderson

     It is not, no, good question. I've never been asked that before. It's very Sim City, though.

    Joe ST

    It's a new theory, they're thinking, is it one of the floating cities from--

    Brandon Sanderson

    From Ashyn, yeah. Boy, that would be hard, it is so big. But, I suppose, magic, you know. But no, it is not...